Can you picture Kendrick Perkins with the Miami Heat?

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It’s a little difficult to picture Kendrick Perkins’ scowl next to anything except Kevin Garnett’s scowl.

But how about next to LeBron James’ scowl?

Perkins was 8th on our list of the 25 top free agents and there is going to be a lot of interest in him — in an NBA where you can’t touch lightning quick players on the perimeter you have to have a big that can protect the rim and alter those shots. Few are better at that than Perkins.

The Miami Heat need a guy like that and are going to go after him this summer (or whenever post lockout), according to Marc Spears at Yahoo.

It’s not going to be easy to get him. Miami — even if they don’t pick up the option on Mario Chalmers, and if James Jones, Eddie House, and Big Z opt out — have $63 million on the books already for next season. That is over the salary cap under the current system and certainly will be over the cap under whatever new system is devised by owners and players in a new CBA.

Which means Miami will not be allowed to offer much Perkins. In the current system the best they could do is the mid-level exception. Boston could offer more money in this system. The new one? Probably. And Perkins wants to stay in Boston, which makes luring him away hard.

But two things to take away. One is that Boston is going to have competition to keep Kendrick Perkins.

The other is that Pat Riley is going to go hard after the parts he knows the Heat need. They are contenders this season. Next season they will be better.

Luka Doncic kicks Marcus Smart in groin while making and-one (video)

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This was the worst help defense Marcus Smart has ever played.

Of course, it was good recognition and a nice rotation. The Celtics guard is a superb defender.

But the results were horrendous, both unproductive and painful.

Robert Williams fouled a driving Luka Doncic. As Doncic scored on his continuation, he kicked Smart in the groin.

At least Smart laughed about the play after the game, a 116-106 Boston win over the Mavericks.

NBC Sports Boston:

Mike Conley sinks backcourt shot… in middle of first quarter (video)

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The Jazz got off to a rough start offensively this season. They still haven’t figured out everything.

But when this shot is falling, it feels a lot better.

During its win over the Warriors last night, Utah had a pass deflected into the backcourt. That left Mike Conley only a couple seconds to make something happen, and he delivered by sinking a 50-footer.

Best I can tell (shot-distance data is unreliable), this was the first made backcourt shot that wasn’t an end-of-quarter heave since Kyrie Irving in 2015:

Pelicans coach Alvin Gentry touches live ball (video)

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This hasn’t been a great year for NBA coaches staying out of the way.

First, Heat coach Erik Spoelstra – mistakenly believing a timeout had been called – went onto the court during play. He tried to run off, but he wasn’t quick enough to avoid a technical foul.

Then, last night, Rockets forward P.J. Tucker threw an off-target pass past James Harden. The ball rolled all the way to the backcourt and was headed out of bounds… when Pelicans coach Gentry stepped onto the court to scoop it up.

AT&T SportsNet Southwest:

Gentry was just trying to save time. But, of course, that was a technical foul.

After 1-of-11 shooting, Kristaps Porzingis not mad he was benched to end game

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With 9:04 left in the game Monday night in Boston, Kristaps Porzingis picked up his fifth personal foul. Mavericks coach Rick Carlisle subbed him out.

Porzingis never saw the floor again.

After a 1-of-11 shooting night when Porzingis had more fouls (five) than points (four), Carlisle went with what was working better against the Celtics and gave his team a chance to win. After the game, Porzingis was asked about being benched for crunch time and he was not blaming his coach. Via Tim MacMahon of ESPN:

“Of course I want to be out there, but can’t blame him,” Porzingis said. “I wasn’t having a great game. I’m all-in for whatever’s best for the team. If the coach thinks he’d rather have me out and have someone else in that’s having a better game, let’s do it if we can win a basketball game. That’s the most important thing, but going forward, I want to make sure I’m out there.”

Porzingis has struggled to find his form to start the season — something that shouldn’t be a surprise for a guy who went 19 months without playing competitive basketball following his torn ACL. He’s averaging 18.3 points per game but is shooting just 40.1 percent overall (but 37.5 percent from three).

The issue has been consistency — he’s had nights like the 32 against Portland, but in games where Luka Doncic is dominating the ball, Porzingis has faded away rather than asserted himself into the contest. When he’s had smaller players switched onto him, he has not been an overpowering force, but rather has settled for jumpers over them (and he can shoot a jumper over almost anyone). He’s being a bit passive.

It’s far too early to have serious concerns about Porzingis — again, he just missed 19 months of competitive basketball. And development. Of course this was going to take time. However, if things don’t improve as the season moves along then Mavericks fans should start to worry a little. The Mavericks have gone all-in on the Doncic/Porzingis combo and need it to work.